Research and Work Experience as a UW Science student


Science students at UW have many opportunities to gain professional experience. We at Imprint compiled some of them. 


The University of Waterloo is widely considered to house one of the country’s leading co-operative education programs, offering the largest co-op program in Canada and one of the largest in the world. 

Most science programs at UW allow students to choose either co-op or regular streams for their undergraduate degree, though several require co-op and several do not have a co-op option. 

Programs requiring co-op: Medicinal Chemistry and Biotechnology/Chartered Professional Accountancy.

Programs with the option of not doing co-op: Honours Science, Biomedical Sciences, and Science and Aviation.

Examples of possible co-op jobs: Geochemistry Lab Assistant at the  University of Waterloo, Genetic Counselor at Sunnybrook Hospital, Microbiology Lab Assistant at Health Canada 

There are several major benefits associated with co-op:

  • Networking opportunities for potential jobs post-graduation 
  • Financial compensation that can cover tuition and other living costs
  • Gaining up to two years of professional work experience 

However, regular stream also offers key advantages: 

  • Earlier graduation (typically four years, rather than five)
  • No required spring school or work semesters (summers off)
  • The opportunity to develop professional skills through the EDGE program 

EDGE certificate 

EDGE is an education certificate program for non co-op undergraduate students to gain professional skills and learn how to find and obtain career options.

The EDGE certificate comprises various courses, workshops, and community experiences. To receive the certificate, students must successfully complete the following: 

  • A skills identification and articulation workshop 
  • A career development course 
  • Three work or community experiences 
  • A capstone workshop 


Work-Study Opportunities: Work-study and international work-study programs are available through the Student Awards and Financial Aid. These programs, which have specific eligibility requirements, offer students a paid research position during school terms. 

Examples of Work-Study Job include working as a lab assistant in a UW lab.

Velocity Science: For students who aspire to create a science or tech start up, Velocity Science offers access to mentors, labs and various other resources to help students bring their ideas to come to life. 

Examples of past Velocity companies are Avro Life Science, MedMe, ribbit .

Honours thesis and capstone project courses 

Some programs offer an undergraduate honours thesis or capstone project, which allow students to individually work on a project with a faculty member. This project usually takes place over two terms and allows students to strengthen research skills in an area of their choosing.